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High School Column: College degree or being American not a sign of entitlement
Lauren Andrews (Web).jpg
Lauren Andrews, Camden High School

I couldn’t count the number of times the phrase “life just isn’t fair” has been thrown into my face in times of distress. Times when I felt that I had been truly wronged, cheated of an opportunity I most definitely deserved. The prize, whatever it may have been, was practically in the palms of my hands. It was basically mine.

But it wasn’t, and that’s where I made my first mistake.

Entitlement has become stitched into the society in which we live, ingrained into the youth and young adults who walk the streets each day with a new complaint marinating in their minds. The idea that if one accomplishes enough and, therefore, has done all he must do to reach his end goal is a destructive belief that is easily taught. The extent of the harm it can cause people is limitless and can extend to many different subjects and issues we currently face.

An example to consider is the many college graduates who feel that simply because they attended college and paid for the courses, they are now entitled to a job. While this may seem reasonable to them -- for they have put in much work, time, money, and involvement into this part of their lives -- it is imperative to remember that no one is promised anything tangible in life. Just because one milestone has been conquered does not mean that all has been done that must be completed in order to obtain success.

It is also important for one to note, in the case of students who feel they now deserve a guaranteed job because they have completed school, that everyone else before them has gone through this exact process in order to get where they currently are and acquire a job just as these graduates hope to do. Completing college is most definitely a triumph, but it is also a necessary part of life for many and should not be viewed by anyone as the “end of the finish line.”

When one has this sense of entitlement, he is more susceptible to being labeled a quitter and behaving as one as well. Feeling that one accomplishment means one is owed something by society will most likely lead to a newly-found lack of work ethic and resentment towards those who do not comply with this belief. Entitlement can create a spiteful and paranoid being, one who believes that everyone is stealing what is somehow his when he has in no way actually proved so or worked for that to be true.

In a political sense, America has proved to support this sense of entitlement by claiming that immigrants who come to America are stealing Americans’ jobs. However, this cannot actually be true if the jobs are open and the companies that offer these jobs are hiring. Considering these positions are open and available for anyone to apply for them, it confuses me how these jobs are being “stolen.” Jobs are simply granted to those who are more qualified and work harder for the job; being a certain nationality has nothing to do with one’s qualifications.

Allowing for this way of thinking to continue is toxic to society as a whole. Believing in these notions leads to less motivated, less devoted, and fewer hard-working citizens, greatly affecting the way that the nation works as a whole. It can be easy to slip into the trap of believing that one is owed something or that one has earned the right to something due to accomplishments one has met, especially in less serious situations.

I find myself feeling this way often, believing that I deserve to rest after doing one of my three assignments that need to be completed, but I always manage to snap out of this thinking and realize that meeting one goal is not nearly as good as meeting all of my goals for the day. Remembering what is at stake and what needs to be done is important for not falling for the enticing influence of entitlement.

If one has to ask himself, “Did I really work hard enough to deserve this?” the answer is probably no. Being confident with one’s actions and certain of what one deserves is a sure sign that one is truly deserving of whatever prize is at stake. But sometimes, when the going just seems to get too tough, one just needs the blunt reminder that “life just isn’t fair.